Harambee!*

I know I should be posting about the Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles) of Kwanzaa, but after getting partway through the draft, it now feels better write one cohesive entry and post it New Year's Eve. December 31 is the second-to-last day of Kwanzaa, but it is the biggest night of the holiday. It is the night of the karamu celebration feast, where there the family joins together to reflect on the past, give remembrance to those who have passed on, and honor the physical and/or symbolic presence of children who represent the future, which is to be welcomed with hope, faith, and unity.

Depending on the space you're in, you're either thinking something along the lines of "Wow — that's amazing!" or "Whoa — that's heavy." It's a bit of both. The karamu as a whole is a lively time of togetherness and fun, but sandwiched in the middle is the Tamshi la Tambiko (Libation Statement) during which among other things, the names of family and friends who have passed away are read and remembered. The karamu is where time folds in on itself — where past struggles are recognized, present values and efforts are reaffirmed, and the future is looked forward to with belief of renewal.

Kwanzaa is a time of reflection and this season, it is impossible for me to think of the meaning of Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba and not think of all of you, my friends inside the computer. I think of our individual and shared journeys along our varied paths of infertility and loss and how Kwanzaa seems to emanate the good that we hope to extract, in whatever ways and in whatever amounts we can, from where we've been and where we are and then use that good as the first foot forward in the new year.

I think of how in this community, we pull together to support, encourage, and abide.

The fact that the timing of this cycle blends with Kwanzaa seems fitting and appropriate. Day one of Kwanzaa is Umoja, which means Unity. Day two of Kwanzaa is Kujichagulia, which means Self-Determination. Today's principle for day three is Ujima, which means collective work and responsibility. I am seeing Kwanzaa in the light of my role as friend and surrogate to Chance and Apollo. We are determined individually and collectively. We are united as a family.

And for our future, I have hope….

I have hope for all of you.

*In Swahili, the literal translation of "harmabee" is "working together for a common purpose." Loosely translated, it means "let's all pull together" and is used both as a call to gather or as a cheer at the end of such a gathering.

13 Comments

  1. Bleu on December 28, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Holidays!!!



  2. MommyLady on December 28, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    I am so proud of you! I raised you well!!!!! *sniff*



  3. tash on December 28, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    These are really beautiful to read, Moxie, thank you so much.
    What a lovely idea to have such a moment of reflection *and* looking forward at the end of the year.



  4. Nikki on December 28, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Happy Kwanzaa! There is so much strength in the sentiment of “lets all pull together”!



  5. Danielle on December 28, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Oh how beautiful! This whole post gave me chills. To remember the past and the future is so beautiful!
    Enjoy your Kwanzaa celebration with your family!
    Hugs,
    -D



  6. JuliaKB on December 28, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    This is so cool. You rock, lady. Also? You are a rock. Which makes us pretty damn lucky. 🙂



  7. Kristin on December 29, 2008 at 12:10 am

    I love reading this and really learning what Kwanzaa is all about.



  8. MommyLady on December 29, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Habari gani!!!!! Day 3 of Kwanzaa
    Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
    To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.
    Take time to offer your help to someone today.



  9. mrs spock on December 29, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Harambee totally reminds me of our community and the things we do for each other, from the big ‘ol UTERUS fundraiser, to the smaller, individual displays of support.
    I have hope for all of us.



  10. MommyLady on December 29, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Wow!!!!!!!!!! How cool is the kinara!!!!!!!



  11. anymommy on December 29, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    I love learning too. It’s lovely. And, hope is precious.



  12. Baby Smiling In Back Seat on December 30, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Hey there, Cycle Sista!
    The different principles for each day are so interesting. I’ll look forward to learning about all 7 principles tomorrow.
    Sending good thoughts to you, Chance, and Apollo for this cycle!



  13. Kwanzaa yenu iwe na heri!* on December 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    […] As I previously explained, during the karamu we recite the names of those who’ve passed on. In this space, I want to say the names of babies who left this world much too early to honor them and the parents and families who love them. […]